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Yakima Valley is a thriving wine region with 11,000 acres (4,451 hectares) of flowing green fields with picturesque vineyards. Fruit orchards growing apples, cherries and peaches also make up a small portion of the land. Stop at one of the many wineries for a tasting session. Around 40 per cent of Washington’s wine originates from this valley.
In 1983, the region was designated as the state’s first American Viticultural Area, which means it is used primarily for wine grape growing. The several inches of snow in winter and very little rain during the warm summer provide a healthy growing season for grapes.
Take a relaxing drive through wine country. Enjoy views of endless fields with the horizon far off in the distance. Go on a Yakima Valley Wine Tour, which offers chauffeured transportation. Most vineyards offer tastings and tours of the grounds and cellars. Pick fruit at one of the orchards growing and selling nectarines, pears and plums.
Eat at one of many restaurants and boutiques in Downtown Yakima. Browse cellars and attend events and festivals with a wine theme. Visit Yakima Valley Museum in the center of the region for a revealing insight into the local history. See exhibits on the early settlers and the development of the fruit industry. One highlight is a collection of horse-drawn carriages. Learn about the Yakima Indians and the tools they made to live off the land. Take the kids to eat at the Soda Fountain, a working replica of a 1930s lunch counter.
Drop in at the Yakima Visitor’s Center, just 3 miles (1.2 kilometers) east of the museum for current information about the wine season and other activities.
Yakima Valley is about 150 miles (241.4 kilometers) southeast of Seattle and 180 miles (289.7 kilometers) northeast of Portland, Oregon. The drive to Seattle Tacoma Airport should take around 2 or 3 hours.
The abundance of vineyards and fruit orchards makes Yakima Valley an ideal setting for a sophisticated and enjoyable trip through wine country.